Can you guess where we were?

This was written for a Wednesday, but it is about the Wednesday from two weeks ago. That’s going to be the way of it around here for the next few weeks as we cover two weeks of amazing travels to, hopefully, makes up for the two-week break I took on the site. So cast your mind back two weeks …

We caught our flight out of Indianapolis with no problem, though the security line was as long as I believe I’ve ever seen at that fine airport. Everyone has stopped wearing masks. (Except me.)

I’m overgeneralizing there. A few people were wearing masks, but not wearing them correctly. I don’t understand this at all. You’ve had time to figure out the nuances of the respiratory system’s two exit and entry points. No one is making you do it anymore, so it isn’t a protest. You’re just bad at this. (And cover your nose.)

The first flight was on a small plane to New York and that was easy. We spent some time in a crowded Delta lounge, where we had dinner. It’s a serve yourself cafeteria-style arrangement. I had mild jerk chicken and rice. It hit the spot. We stayed in the lounge perhaps too long. At the door we asked a Delta employee some question or another about our flight and the terminal it was in and he looked startled. “You need to leave, now!

And so we did. We strolled over to the JFK terminal train and somehow went through security again. Got on the next plane with no problem.

You’re supposed to sleep when you’re traveling east great distances (that’s a clue), but sleeping on a plane isn’t always easy. I decided to put on a movie because the screen is right there in the back of the next seat. I watched Contact, thinking Jodie Foster would be good company to nod off. I wound up watching the whole movie. Two-and-a-half hours I could have been asleep.

But I did get about three hours. Maybe four? We landed, breezed through border control, or customs, which seemed surprisingly easy. So cursory was the exchange I’m not sure if we were even legally there. We have one stamp each, though, and the Uber driver came to pick us up. No one at the airport tried to keep us from leaving, it must be official.

So we arrived at the hotel in the middle of the day. Perhaps a bit too early for check-in. There was a long line of people at the many minimalist check-in desks learning they, too, were too ambitious. When we made it to the desk the cheery person said, I’m sure for the 73rd time in a row, that our room wasn’t ready, and would we mind waiting an hour or so?

We waited in the lobby for an hour or so, watching other guests’ create these shared experiences. We got a room upgrade out of the deal, though. Small room, perfectly functional. Reasonable bed. Outstanding view.

Can you guess where we were? (Here’s another clue!)

If you know what you’re looking at there’s an important site (Another clue!) far off into the distance. And if you leaned onto your tiptoes and craned your neck into an uncomfortable position and looked as far as you could to your right you’d see an iconic giveaway. (Not pictured here.)

We ventured out to take care of the travel logistics for the next several days. Oh boy. First we had to figure out where we were, in relation to everything else, and how to get to where the logistics could be resolved. The online “experience” hasn’t been very helpful. And the language barriers (A clue!) in person were a bit challenging, as well. There was some aimless wandering, some “Could you speak more slowly, please?” and some waiting in lines. We have a day trip planned for Friday, which was only resolved satisfactorily after we were lied to a few times in a most haughty way. (Another clue!) But everything for was finally resolved. We also had to work out transportation for the second half of our trip to work out, which meant more wandering, for another office. Also resolved, but we will ultimately add a day here and reschedule a thing there. One of those frustrating-in-the-moment-but-won’t-matter-next-week experiences. Resolved to our satisfaction is the key.

After we had all of that taken care of, we had dinner with Thomas, a friend from Germany, and his colleague and his student, at a little sidewalk cafe. The food was filling and flavorless, and, most importantly, helped pass a little extra time until darkness so we can go to sleep. So we can defeat jet lag. This never happens.

But the question remains, where were we? If you are stumped, come back tomorrow, when the question is answered, and the fun begins.

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